Explosive Eruption at Kilauea Summit Sends Ash 30,000 Feet into Sky

An explosive eruption from Kilauea’s summit on Thursday morning sent an ash plume soaring some 30,000 feet into the air, and officials are warning that ash emissions will cover a large part of the Big Island. 

The National Weather Service has issued an ashfall advisory after radar showed the massive plume.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory officials confirmed that there was an explosive eruption at around 4:15 a.m., but they still have yet to assess whether it was a steam-driven explosion that they have been warning residents about for several days.

The explosive eruption happened a day after at least 125 shallow quakes rattled Kilauea’s summit and neighboring communities, causing minor damage to roads and buildings amid growing concerns about that violent, steam-driven eruption at Halemaumau Crater. 

Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the situation remains “very, very active and very dynamic.”

She added, “The potential for larger explosions is still there.”

Geologists say the quakes are being caused by the ongoing deflation at the summit and as lava levels continue to decline. As of Wednesday afternoon, the floor of the Kilauea caldera has dropped about 3 feet.

The strongest quake in the area was a magnitude 4.4, and dozens more have been upwards of magnitude 3.

Because the tremors are shallow, they cause greater shaking — and increase the potential for damage.

Employees at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and nearby residents are reporting…

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